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Best Computer for Workflow

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The highest specs within your budget. fastest cpu, most ram, best GPU you can afford.

There’s no magic formula, it comes down to cost, as always. if you’re editing 4K video, you can’t skimp at all. $1500 absolute minimum for PC, $3k for a mac.
 
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If I could get the efficiency of a PC but the looks of a MacPro I would be sold. A company needs to figure out how to mold the two. No point in buying a Mac at three times the rate to have 1/4 of the working power...but man are they pretty.
 
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What is your best computer specs/models to edit ProRes/CinemaDNG materials
You know, it's amazing how tight-lipped Apple and Adobe are with spec recommendations. Even when pressed, Adobe literally won't make ANY hardware recommendations whatsoever. Maddening. I have been researching this for years.

The problem is that everybody and their brother is willing to spend countless hours and countless dollars testing and comparing computers for GAMING. Is gaming like rendering or exporting? No. Gaming relies heavily on the GPU all the time. Conversely, during the video editing process, playback uses almost no GPU at all. However, the GPU IS utilized heavily during the Exporting process.

I'm sure you've heard the term "CUDA Cores" tossed around. And according to my research, more CUDA cores WILL benefit the user during the Exporting process.

Here are some screen shots that may paint a picture.

This first shot is of the machine sitting idle. Adobe Premiere Pro is open in a project; 4K video from an Inspire 1 X3 camera. GPU acceleration is enabled.
1602945699953.png


During playback, as you can see, GPU Memory and Core Clock go to work. But GPU Utilization remains almost untouched. CPU's are barely working. Video playback is smooth at 1/4 resolution (which actually looks very good since my Preview Panel is only taking up half of a 1080p monitor).
1602945944685.png

When I speed up playback to 4x, oddly enough it's the CPU's that work harder. The GPU Utilization is still moderate. This tells me that I should be able to edit with a moderate GPU, as it's barely being utilized during the editing process.

1602946579818.png


It's not until I Export that the GPU kicks in. The CPU's are also working more:
1602946727288.png

The thing that bugs me is this. Why is Adobe not utilizing 100% of the GPU and CPU's? My previous machine uses 100% CPU during the Exporting process. Usage was about the same for the GPU. So now I have more, faster Cores, more Threads, faster RAM, and instead of getting more performance, I now have more HEAD ROOM. I don't want more head room. I want my CPU to be rockin' 100% and my Exporting and playback experience to be faster and smoother!

Unfortunately, I have to stop typing as I'm going to go vote. I'll come back to this article and share machine and software spec's later.

D
 

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Perhaps you have a bottle neck somewhere else.
What are your storage media? Are you using spinning platters, SSD or an M.2?
Did you setup the mother board yourself? Sharing any PciE lanes?
Are your Source and Destination media sharing a lane? On the same storage media?
A lot of unknows.
Note, I'm not criticizing your setup, just pointing out what I have learned could be potential bottle necks.
When I built my pc for editing, I chose an Intel cpu I7, 64Gb of Crucial memory, nVidia Geforce GTX 1070 video, Samsung Pro NVMe M.2 for the OS only, Samsung 860 Pro SSD's, one for source and one for export.
I set up the lane configuration so that Nothing shares a lane.
This thing is blazing fast, and maybe cost $2400.
 
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You know, it's amazing how tight-lipped Apple and Adobe are with spec recommendations. Even when pressed, Adobe literally won't make ANY hardware recommendations whatsoever. Maddening. I have been researching this for years.

The problem is that everybody and their brother is willing to spend countless hours and countless dollars testing and comparing computers for GAMING. Is gaming like rendering or exporting? No. Gaming relies heavily on the GPU all the time. Conversely, during the video editing process, playback uses almost no GPU at all. However, the GPU IS utilized heavily during the Exporting process.

I'm sure you've heard the term "CUDA Cores" tossed around. And according to my research, more CUDA cores WILL benefit the user during the Exporting process.

Here are some screen shots that may paint a picture.

This first shot is of the machine sitting idle. Adobe Premiere Pro is open in a project; 4K video from an Inspire 1 X3 camera. GPU acceleration is enabled.
View attachment 29767


During playback, as you can see, GPU Memory and Core Clock go to work. But GPU Utilization remains almost untouched. CPU's are barely working. Video playback is smooth at 1/4 resolution (which actually looks very good since my Preview Panel is only taking up half of a 1080p monitor).
View attachment 29768

When I speed up playback to 4x, oddly enough it's the CPU's that work harder. The GPU Utilization is still moderate. This tells me that I should be able to edit with a moderate GPU, as it's barely being utilized during the editing process.

View attachment 29770


It's not until I Export that the GPU kicks in. The CPU's are also working more:
View attachment 29771

The thing that bugs me is this. Why is Adobe not utilizing 100% of the GPU and CPU's? My previous machine uses 100% CPU during the Exporting process. Usage was about the same for the GPU. So now I have more, faster Cores, more Threads, faster RAM, and instead of getting more performance, I now have more HEAD ROOM. I don't want more head room. I want my CPU to be rockin' 100% and my Exporting and playback experience to be faster and smoother!

Unfortunately, I have to stop typing as I'm going to go vote. I'll come back to this article and share machine and software spec's later.

D
Here’s my humble take on this. Premier Pro is the problem.

It has extremely poor performance for what it does. I made the switch to Resolve as my primary NLE and haven’t looked back. My modest 2019 16” MacBook Pro can handle 4k 30 FPS cDNG in Resolve like it’s nothing. Real time full resolution playback and faster than real time rendering. It will use everything my machine can throw at it. A 3 minute clip done in Resolve will render in 30 seconds or less.

The same clip done in PP will take hours to render. HOURS! And I can’t see what I am doing while I’m editing. Totally unusable. After Effects may still have its place but I don’t understand using Premier Pro any more.

I feel that Resolve gives me a better finished product as well.
 
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Here’s my humble take on this. Premier Pro is the problem.

It has extremely poor performance for what it does. I made the switch to Resolve as my primary NLE and haven’t looked back. My modest 2019 16” MacBook Pro can handle 4k 30 FPS cDNG in Resolve like it’s nothing. Real time full resolution playback and faster than real time rendering. It will use everything my machine can throw at it. A 3 minute clip done in Resolve will render in 30 seconds or less.

The same clip done in PP will take hours to render. HOURS! And I can’t see what I am doing while I’m editing. Totally unusable. After Effects may still have its place but I don’t understand using Premier Pro any more.

I feel that Resolve gives me a better finished product as well.
Interesting. Of course I have heard of Davinci Resolve, but I've never tried it. I use Adobe Premiere because my GF is a web developer. She uses Dreamweaver, so we split the cost of the Adobe suite membership down the middle. Honestly, I've never been happy with membership-based software. So, questions...

Which version of Resolve do you use? (I know you're on a Mac, so if you know the Windows equivalent, that would be helpful).
Does Resolve have good color correction tools on par with Lumetri?
How much is it? Do you pay for it flat-out, or is it a membership? (I'm talking about the version you use).
How is the support?

Thanx for the help.

D
 
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Here’s my humble take on this. Premier Pro is the problem.

It has extremely poor performance for what it does. I made the switch to Resolve as my primary NLE and haven’t looked back. My modest 2019 16” MacBook Pro can handle 4k 30 FPS cDNG in Resolve like it’s nothing. Real time full resolution playback and faster than real time rendering. It will use everything my machine can throw at it. A 3 minute clip done in Resolve will render in 30 seconds or less.

The same clip done in PP will take hours to render. HOURS! And I can’t see what I am doing while I’m editing. Totally unusable. After Effects may still have its place but I don’t understand using Premier Pro any more.

I feel that Resolve gives me a better finished product as well.
I am also a Premiere user. Tried Resolve but the muscle memory is a huge hurdle for me. Learning a new NLE software is a major undertaking. Many swear by Resolve and you can buy the fully fledged Studio version outright for about US$300 if my memory serves me well. They have slightly truncated version for free, so you can try it to see how this software sits with you. I also hate Premiere's inability to utilise properly GPU for playback and editing. I've got a decent PC with 2080ti video card but as soon as a simple transitions are applied on timeline the playback starts to struggle and quickly deteriorates to becoming unusable. Fortunatelly the proxy files can be generated efficiently, as ME utilizes GPU when creating them, so it is a relatively fast process. After switching to proxies in PR, playback is smooth, scrabbing through timeline no problem either. Exporting 4K is not that bad since that process utilizes GPU reasonably well, for most parts that is...
 
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I am also a Premiere user. Tried Resolve but the muscle memory is a huge hurdle for me. Learning a new NLE software is a major undertaking.
I jumped to Premiere Pro from Sony Vegas Pro. And, yeah, the learning curve was steep - having to UNLEARN years of shortcut keys. And, yes, I know that shortcut keys can be remapped in Premiere. But for many reasons it seems best to learn software with the hotkeys in their native positions. But I digress....



Many swear by Resolve and you can buy the fully fledged Studio version outright for about US$300 if my memory serves me well. They have slightly truncated version for free, so you can try it to see how this software sits with you.
I may give it a try.




I also hate Premiere's inability to utilise properly GPU for playback and editing. I've got a decent PC with 2080ti video card but as soon as a simple transitions are applied on timeline the playback starts to struggle and quickly deteriorates to becoming unusable."
Yep. My experience, too. I have a 1080ti Founders Edition, and it, too, struggles with transitions. What sucks about Premiere is you can "render" resource-intense graphics so that they'll play smoothly. But you can't render transitions like dissolves and the like. Very vexing. That said, using Proxy files infinitely improves the work flow and editing experience.



Fortunatelly the proxy files can be generated efficiently, as ME utilizes GPU when creating them, so it is a relatively fast process."
Ditto for Premiere. It's easy to create proxies and the GPU is utilized for this process as well as exporting. Where the GPU remains nearly dormant is during playback. Clearly, the CPU does all the heavy lifting during the editing process.



After switching to proxies in PR, playback is smooth, scrabbing through timeline no problem either. Exporting 4K is not that bad since that process utilizes GPU reasonably well, for most parts that is...
My question would be, "Does Davinci Resolute utilize the GPU during the editing process???"

Worth noting; STILL waiting for the new RTX 3080's to become available. God forbid I got on the NVidia website THIRTY-THREE minutes after the cards went on sale and missed out. STILL waiting for them to become available. ARGH!

D
 
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Interesting. Of course I have heard of Davinci Resolve, but I've never tried it. I use Adobe Premiere because my GF is a web developer. She uses Dreamweaver, so we split the cost of the Adobe suite membership down the middle. Honestly, I've never been happy with membership-based software. So, questions...

Which version of Resolve do you use? (I know you're on a Mac, so if you know the Windows equivalent, that would be helpful).
Does Resolve have good color correction tools on par with Lumetri?
How much is it? Do you pay for it flat-out, or is it a membership? (I'm talking about the version you use).
How is the support?

Thanx for the help.

D
I have Resolve 16 Studio which is the paid version (one time $299 and get all the updates) but all your basic editing functions are available in the Free Version. Basically everything but the VFX stuff is available in the free version. It’s the same for Windows as it is Mac. Some people say the Studio version is faster but that wasn’t my experience.

Resolve is a much more powerful color grading program, this is where it really blows Premier out of the water. Honestly the basic controls aren’t that much different from PP. Once I figured out that what Resolve calls “nodes” are just more powerful “layers” then it clicked pretty easily. Resolve is more of an end to end suite than PP. From media selection to rough cut to more precise editing to color grading to render. Adobe wants you to use Prelude then PP then AE then Media Encoder. Resolve is all that in one.

One thing I really like in particular about Resolve is I can easily access the Camera Raw settings at any time. With PP and After Effects I have yet to figure out how to access Camera Raw for anything but the first frame of the video and no way to adjust it after. If you don’t shoot RAW this doesn’t matter.

I know it’s always scary to switch from something you know really well but if you give it a chance you’ll never go back and it was the easiest NLE for me to figure out. No where near as hard as going from Final Cut Pro to Premier. I actually think PP is the hardest program to learn.
 
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Does Resolve have good color correction tools on par with Lumetri?
Resolve is much better and more powerful than Lumetri. If that’s the only color correcting tool you use in PP then there’s no reason to get the paid version of Resolve all that is free. The free version gets you 90% of resolve. I barely use the paid functions.
 
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I have Resolve 16 Studio which is the paid version (one time $299 and get all the updates) but all your basic editing functions are available in the Free Version. Basically everything but the VFX stuff is available in the free version. It’s the same for Windows as it is Mac. Some people say the Studio version is faster but that wasn’t my experience.

Resolve is a much more powerful color grading program, this is where it really blows Premier out of the water. Honestly the basic controls aren’t that much different from PP. Once I figured out that what Resolve calls “nodes” are just more powerful “layers” then it clicked pretty easily. Resolve is more of an end to end suite than PP. From media selection to rough cut to more precise editing to color grading to render. Adobe wants you to use Prelude then PP then AE then Media Encoder. Resolve is all that in one.

One thing I really like in particular about Resolve is I can easily access the Camera Raw settings at any time. With PP and After Effects I have yet to figure out how to access Camera Raw for anything but the first frame of the video and no way to adjust it after. If you don’t shoot RAW this doesn’t matter.

I know it’s always scary to switch from something you know really well but if you give it a chance you’ll never go back and it was the easiest NLE for me to figure out. No where near as hard as going from Final Cut Pro to Premier. I actually think PP is the hardest program to learn.
Thank you, sir. I will have to give Davinci Resolve a shot.

D
 
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Resolve is much better and more powerful than Lumetri.
This is good to know, as I use Lumetri color a lot.




If that’s the only color correcting tool you use in PP then there’s no reason to get the paid version of Resolve all that is free. The free version gets you 90% of resolve. I barely use the paid functions.
Sweet. Thanx. I will give Resolve a shot.

D
 
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I have Resolve 16 Studio which is the paid version (one time $299 and get all the updates) but all your basic editing functions are available in the Free Version.
The free version gets you 90% of resolve. I barely use the paid functions.
Actually, when you are using h.264 and definitely when usuing h.265 source files, the Studio version of Resolve is much better than the free version. If using only raw formats, then the free verion may be sufficient.
 
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What is your best computer specs/models to edit ProRes/CinemaDNG materials
Puget Systems is a solid resource for pairing hardware to specific tasks. Select the "solutions" tab.
 
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Actually, when you are using h.264 and definitely when usuing h.265 source files, the Studio version of Resolve is much better than the free version. If using only raw formats, then the free verion may be sufficient.
That wasn’t my experience. Maybe it has to do with specific graphics cards but honestly when you rendering 80+ FPS and have flawless playback what’s the difference? This is with my very modest Mac so I can’t image what you guys could get with your specked out desktop PCs.
 
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That wasn’t my experience. Maybe it has to do with specific graphics cards but honestly when you rendering 80+ FPS and have flawless playback what’s the difference? This is with my very modest Mac so I can’t image what you guys could get with your specked out desktop PCs.
Hardware acceleration to decompile highly compressed footage (h.264/h.265) is available with the free version on mac but not on the pc.
For anyone interested in Resolve, here is a great white paper.
 
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